Last week I said I thought AirPods were too expensive. So, if you’re looking for a decent-sounding, comfortable wireless headsets to use primarily with a single Apple device—an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac—I’ve tried many models that will serve your needs and cost you less than AirPods.
Here’s the deal: If you’re going to use your headphones with a single (Apple) device, you pair the headphones with the device and the device and headphones remember each other evermore (or until they forget each other). This is good—it means the headphones connect to the device automatically when you power up the headphones.
Now, if you want to use those same headphones with another (Apple) device, you usually have to first unpair (disconnect) them from the first device, and then pair them with the second.
And that’s the issue. Switching from one Apple device to the other requires a trip to either the Settings app (iOS) or the Bluetooth menu bar item (macOS) to disconnect from the one and connect to the other. It’s not totally odious but it does take a few extra seconds every time.
AirPods don’t require a disconnect/connect sequence to use them with another Apple device. Instead, just select them as the sound source in either Control Center (on iOS), or the Bluetooth menu bar item (on macOS). The best part is, you don’t ever have to pair the AirPods with your other Apple devices—as soon as you pair them with one device, they’re paired automatically with all your other compatible Apple devices.
Some Less Expensive (than AirPods) Wireless Headphone Options
That’s cool. But, if you’re only going to use your earphones with a single device, you can probably find comfortable, decent-sounding wireless headphones for less than $159. If that describes you, here are a few wireless headsets I’ve tested that may better suit your needs and cost you less:
Decibullz Custom Fit Bluetooth Wireless Earphones ($119) are ideal for anyone with comfort issues with other in-ear buds. They’re the only ones I know that include custom-molded earpieces you heat with warm water and shape to fit your ears precisely. They’re very comfortable and sound better and block out ambient sound better than some other similarly priced options.
Elux ($99.95) are handsome, comfortable, nice-sounding over-the-ear headphones from a new company (at least to me) on the scene called Specter Wireless. I also liked their Efitz ($95.95), an in-ear model with ear hooks for those with a more athletic lifestyle.
For those on even tighter budgets I recommend Kinivo’s BTH240 ($24.95) and the discontinued BlueAnt Pump 2 HD ($19.99), which I’ve mentioned before.
The Kinivo is a decent set of over-the-ear headphones with remote controls at a remarkably low price; the discontinued (but still available) BlueAnt Pump HD are still my go-to headphones for any strenuous activity.
And that’s all he wrote…
AirPods. Apple, Inc. $159. Apple
Elux. Specter Wireless. $99.95.
Efitz. Specter Wireless. $95.95.
BTH240. Kinivo. $24.95. www.kinivo.com (Amazon $24.95)